The future decisions for the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework have a crucial role to play in the development of rail transport in Bulgaria. This was announced by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Velik Zanchev at the opening of a summit on "EU Support for the Development of Rail Transport in Bulgaria and the Western Balkans: Current Opportunities and Future Perspectives". The event is part of the calendar of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and is organized by the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, in cooperation with the Union of the European Railway Transport Industry UNIFE. Participation in the forum was also held by the EPP MEP Andrey Novakov, the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria Ognian Zlatev, the UNIFE Director General Philip Citroen, as well as representatives of the EC, business and others.
"The Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and the Connecting Europe Facility are major sources of infrastructure financing in the lagging regions of the European Union, and Bulgaria is very reliant on this support to continue building the basic railway infrastructure," said Velik Zanchev. . "A month ago, MTITC completed its study on the necessary investments to connect the transport networks of the Western Balkan countries and to build the corridors of the" core "TEN-T network," the deputy minister added. He pointed out that the total amount of funds needed to build all railway connections in the region amounted to EUR 43 billion, of which the investments provided by the states are EUR 8 billion.
Zanchev pointed out that it is important to expand the railway network to the west of Bulgaria, following the largest freight flows in the region. "This will greatly facilitate trade in Southeast Europe," he added.
Within the framework of the event, besides future investments in railway infrastructure, the Fourth Rail Package was also discussed. It will make a significant contribution to the development and efficient functioning of the Single European Railway Area. It will ensure a high level of safety, interoperability and increased competitiveness of the railways.
The technical pillar of the 4th Rail Package sets out substantial changes in European legislation. It is envisaged that the European Railway Agency will be the central authority for the issue of safety certificates and type-approval and admission to the market. It will also perform the function of a ERTMS system authority and issue authorizations to put into operation the rail traffic management systems. More one-stop-shop will be introduced to simplify administrative procedures.